How to protect against scams

Know how to spot fake emails, text messages, websites or phone calls.

Check if it’s really us

Sometimes, we need to contact you. However, there are things we don’t do. Here are some ways you can tell if it’s really us.

What we may do

We do call people, but you should be wary of unexpected phone calls claiming to be from us. Ask for the caller’s name and contact details. Then you can call us on one of our payment lines to check. Don’t try to call us using a phone number someone has given you, as it might be fake. You can look up the correct number on our phone us page.

We do send people important information by email or text message. Our messages may include:

  • requests and reminders to attend appointments
  • notification of payments
  • confirmation of changes to your details
  • notification of a new message in your myGov Inbox.

If you owe us money, we’ll send you a letter to your preferred method of communication. This will be 1 of the following:

If you’re not sure whether a letter is genuine, call or email the Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk.

If you get a suspicious email or text message claiming to be from us:

  • don’t open it
  • don’t click on any links
  • don’t respond to the sender
  • report it
  • delete the message.

What we don’t do

We’ll never ask you to reply by email or text message to any electronic message we send you. There are other things we don’t do, including asking you to:

  • click on links or attachments, except for links in our official social media accounts or in your myGov Inbox
  • click on internet links in a text message to upload documents
  • pay us money to get a payment or benefit
  • transfer money to get a payment
  • buy gift cards or vouchers.

We’ll never ask you for money to release your information or fix your account.

We won’t offer you special deals. We won’t ask you to give us remote access to your computer.

Check if a website is genuine

Clicking on a link in a scam email or text message may take you to a fake website. The website may look like the genuine myGov website but won’t have the right address. Check if the website address ends in .gov.au. If it doesn’t, it’s not a genuine government website.

Check if a person is genuine

Our officers will only visit your home after setting a time with you in advance. They'll have photo identification, which you can ask to see. You don’t have to let them in, and they must leave if you ask them to.

You can call us on your regular payment line to confirm their identity.

Check if a phone call is genuine

Scammers may contact you by phone claiming to be from us. The scammer may say you need to pay money in order to pay back a debt or get a benefit. They may tell you to buy iTunes cards, gift vouchers or Google Play cards.

If you’re not sure a phone call is genuine, you can:

  • check if it’s really us by checking the phone number they give you is on our phone us page
  • hang up if a phone call doesn’t feel right or you feel threatened.

Make sure to keep your personal information safe. For example, don’t give out your myGov sign in details or your Medicare card details.

There are more steps you can take to protect your information and reduce the risk of a scam.

Page last updated: 17 February 2020